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Innovation & Startups

Point Park's president peddling Pittsburgh to students through a city bike tour

Point Park president Paul Hennigan is taking the college tour to the next level.
By bike, actually.  The Pittsburgh native and avid biker decided last year that the best way to indoctrinate incoming students—especially those working on campus as RAs—was to personally take them on a bike tour of the city.
“It’s an eye opening, fun experience for many of the students,” says Hennigan. “As our student ambassadors, this is a great thing to do and know about.”
Hennigan meets with the students twice before the tour and they are given an assignment: a one-page summary of the history behind the points of interest along the way.
How did the Hot Metal Bridge get its name? What’s the story behind the South Side Boat launch? How did the Pittsburgh Technology Center come to be?
“I’ve watched the evolution of this city and the creation of these bike trails.,” he tells the students. “I know these stories. Now its your job to learn the history.”
The tour begins at the Golden Triangle bike rental downtown and continues along the Eliza Furnace Trail to the Hot Metal Bridge. Crossing the bridge, the tour continues west on the South Side Trail to the Duquesne Incline, veers sharply left on the hairpin turn that winds up to the Fort Pitt Bridge, crosses the river and traverses Point State Park.
From there its over the Duquesne Bridge to the north side and onto Washington’s Landing where the tour breaks for lunch. Then its back across the Fort Duquesne Bridge to The Point and back to the bike rental.
Hennigan’s favorite stop is on the Hot Metal Bridge, which he points out was once a conduit that helped moved steel across the river.
“We stop in the middle of the bridge. To the right is the gleaming metropolis, to the left is nothing,” he says. “It’s a great juxtaposition.” 
The city is our campus, Hennigan says.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Paul Hennigan
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